Anambra Community Sues Govt, Demands N5bn for Destroying Deities, Economic Trees


David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

Isu-Aniocha Community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State has dragged the state government to court for the destruction of its deities, shrines and economic trees in a land, allegedly acquired by the Governor Willie Obiano government.

The community said it’s demanding a sum of N5 billion from the Anambra State Government as compensation for destroying four shrines and three deities, 200 economic trees, medicinal shrubs, 300 timber trees, and agricultural crops.

The matter, with Suit No A/243/2019 filed at a High Court of sitting in Awka, was instituted by Messrs Godfrey Udeh, Basil Ezeike, Jude Okoye and Anthony Nwogbo, who are leaders of the community.

Standing as defendants in the matter are: Anambra State Housing Development Corporation; Anambra State Ministry of Housing and Urban Development; Anambra State Ministry of Lands; Survey and Town Planning to Court; Messrs Willie Okafor and Anthony Nwofor.

Anambra State Government had in May 2019 acquired the land belonging to Isu Aniocha people for the development of a housing estate in Awka, but the community insisted that it has no boundary with Awka and was not willing to give up its land.

In their statement of claims, the plaintiffs said: “We are seeking the sum of N5 billion being special and general damages for trespass on the land by the defendants.

“Particulars of the special damages include: 200 economic trees (mango, cashew, pear, palm nut, kolanuts trees and others) at N200,000 each, 300 timber trees (iroko, akpu, agba etc) at N100,000 each, medicinal shrubs at N500,000, agricultural crops at N10,000,000 and four shrines and three deities at N7,000,000.”

Part of their 31-point affidavit read: “In May 2019, the Anambra State Housing Development Corporation and the other defendants engaged thugs, cultists, and some mercenaries and moved them into the plaintiffs’ said land to protect the bulldozers caterpillars, etc they put on the land and to ward off the plaintiffs from their land.

“The bulldozers, caterpillars, etc damaged the agricultural crops, economic crops, medicinal shrubs, timber trees, shrines and juju (deities). The massive damage done on the plaintiffs’ land by the defendants and their agent and cohorts was very massive thereby impoverished the plaintiffs beyond measure.”

The plaintiffs are asking the court for a declaration that the land belonged to the community, and to also stop the defendants from trespassing on the land.